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SQI: Simpson Querry Institute

News and Announcements

Read the most recent SQI news below, and subscribe to our newsletters to stay informed about what is happening at the institute.
Evangelos Kiskinis

Studies identify novel underpinnings of genetic ALS

November 13, 2023
A pair of recent studies from the laboratory of SQI member Evangelos Kiskinis have uncovered novel cellular mechanisms that are involved in two types of genetic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The findings improve the understanding of ALS, a progressive neurodegenerative disease that attacks motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord, and provide support for the future development of targeted therapies.
Cells supported by an oxygenation device

A breath of fresh air keeps drug-producing cells alive longer

November 9, 2023
A research team co-led by SQI member Jonathan Rivnay has developed a novel device that produces oxygen in order to keep cells alive inside the self-contained implant. The longer cells can stay alive and healthy, the longer they can autonomously produce therapeutics for the body.
Synthetic melanin being applied to inflamed skin

‘Super melanin’ heals skin injuries from sunburn, chemical burns

November 2, 2023
In a new study, SQI member Nathan Gianneschi and colleagues show that their synthetic melanin, mimicking the natural melanin in human skin, can be applied topically to injured skin, where it accelerates wound healing. These effects occur both in the skin itself and systemically in the body.
Cara Smith

Meet the Researchers: Cara Smith

November 1, 2023
Cara Smith recently earned her PhD in Biomedical Engineering and conducts research in SQI director Samuel Stupp’s laboratory. In this interview, Smith summarizes her recently published research, describes her experience of working in the Stupp group, and shares her career aspirations.

Developing new approaches for spinal cord injury

October 26, 2023

Northwestern researchers led by SQI director Samuel Stupp have developed a molecular “scaffold” capable of enhancing electrical activity and growth in neurons, which may prove useful in treating spinal cord injuries. The scaffolds were composed of a novel nanofiber that mimics the bioactivity of the protein netrin-1 and sustainably delivers signals to neurons over long periods of time.

SQI members Evangelos Kiskinis and Zaida Alvarez were coauthors of the paper, which was published in ACS Nano.

Identifying molecular culprits underlying organ rejection

October 24, 2023

A research team including SQI member Zheng Jenny Zhang has identified how the immune system can regulate organ rejection in mice, which may prove useful for improving transplant tolerance in humans.

The findings suggest that priming T-cells of transplant recipients with repeated injections of antigens from their organ donor may help the recipient’s body avoid organ rejection resulting from infection. The results of the study also identify donor MHC class II as a problematic antigen that may be a cause of rejection after severe infections.

Nathan Gianneschi

Protein-like polymers illuminate the path to macular degeneration treatment

October 16, 2023
In the latest stride toward combating neovascular age-related macular degeneration, a team led by SQI member Nathan Gianneschi has unveiled a novel approach that could transform patients' lives worldwide. Their research, published in Science Advances, introduces Thrombospondin-1 mimetic protein-like polymers as a potential game-changer in the fight against this leading cause of blindness.
Guillermo Ameer

Ameer wins BMES medal for translational bioengineering

October 12, 2023
SQI member Guillermo Ameer has been named the inaugural winner of the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) Athanasiou Medal of Excellence in Translational Bioengineering. The medal recognizes the achievements of an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the field of biomedical engineering with a particular focus on translation.
Drug-producing implant

Small, implantable device could sense and treat cancer

September 26, 2023
A multi-institutional team of researchers, including SQI members Jonathan Rivnay and Shana Kelley, has received $45 million from the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) to fast-track the development of a first-of-its-kind implant to sense and treat cancer. The funding will support a five-and-a-half-year effort to develop and test a device that can sense inflammatory markers associated with cancer and then autonomously deliver immunotherapy.
Guillermo Ameer

Ameer wins Excellence in Biomaterials Science Award

August 25, 2023
SQI member Guillermo Ameer has been elected the winner of the 2023 Excellence in Biomaterials Science Award, an honor given by the Surfaces in Biomaterials Foundation. The award, the highest given by the foundation, recognizes an individual who has made significant contributions to the biomaterials science field.

‘New’ ALS gene destabilizes neuron’s structure and chokes off its nucleus

August 18, 2023
Northwestern University scientists led by SQI member Evangelos Kiskinis have discovered for the first time how mutated NEK1 genes lead to ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). The findings could lead to new therapeutic targets for the disease.
Student making biomaterials out of alginate

SQI hosts high school students interested in medicine

August 14, 2023
Forty-seven high school students with the National Student Leadership Conference’s Medicine Intensive program visited SQI to learn about the Institute’s biomedical research and how therapeutic materials are synthesized, analyzed, and ultimately tested in disease models.
Shana Kelley

New DNA identification approach could improve monitoring for chronic diseases

July 27, 2023
Investigators led by SQI member Shana Kelley have developed a novel approach for identifying sequences of artificial DNA with differing levels of binding to other small molecules. The approach, detailed in a study published in Nature Chemistry, could help improve the efficiency of diagnostic monitoring for patients with chronic diseases.
Zheng Jenny Zhang

Meet the Faculty: Zheng Jenny Zhang

July 26, 2023
Zheng Jenny Zhang is a Research Professor of Surgery in the Division of Organ Transplantation at the Feinberg School of Medicine. In this interview, Zhang discusses her research focuses, her collaborations with nanotechnology experts at SQI, and her role as director of the Microsurgery and Preclinical Research Core at Feinberg’s Comprehensive Transplant Center.